Breaking Bad S05E14: “REALLY? REALLY?! TRY TO BREATHE?!”

If “AHHHHHH!” written over and over again would’ve served well as last week’s recap, this week’s recap should be exclusively wide-eyed silence. I’m not sure how to convey that in text. Like this, I guess: (°_°) Just that emoticon — not even written over and over, just the one. Oh, brother. Let’s get to it and remember that we did this to ourselves, for “enjoyment.” To “unwind” and “release” some of the stresses of everyday life. I’m so “glad” we choose to do this, as our anxiety “is” “already” at a “manageable level.” Hahah. AHHH. Deep breath. So. The episode begins where it all did, in the desert at Walt and Jesse’s first cook, plus Walt’s first meth-related lie to Skyler. He practices the lie as he walks away to make the call (if nothing else, one thing that Walt can be grateful for throughout the series is his incredible cell phone reception), and Skyler buys it. She stands next to the knives. She packs away a nightmare clown. They talk about Holly. It’s all a lot. After the call ends, Walt, the RV, and Jesse disappear leaving us where we left off last week — at the shoot out. Oh, good! I was missing the shoot out!

There was a bit of talk last week about how the shootout was unrealistic, as it seemed like Gomez and Hank were able to dodge a bunch of men shooting at them from basically right in front of their poor, unsuspecting faces. Well, ah, they didn’t. Not really. Gomez is dead. Hank has been shot. Jesse is missing. Walt shouts from the car in an effort to stop Jack from finishing off Hank, and is brought out to state his case. He’s family, he says. You can have all of my millions of dollars, which is so many millions, jesus christ, he says. The DEA isn’t involved, he says. (Walt doesn’t try to persuade Jack with is his meth cooking ability, which seems odd. Is that not the only thing these guys want from him?) (I guess maybe he thought that handing over the money would be a faster way to the same conclusion, for them. But, then, keep its location a secret!) (Though, he was under a fair amount of stress.) But as Hank knows, and as we all knew since Hank’s death-baiting phone call to Marie last week, nothing would have been enough — Jack had made up his mind. He shoots Hank, and Walt falls to the ground.

Fuck this incredible TV show. And with that, we begin this: (°_°) Walt lays crying while the nazis dig up his money. After all of the barrels are exhumed, the bodies of Hank and Gomez are thrown in their place. Jack leaves a barrel with Walt — how generous! — and Todd uncuffs him, telling him “I’m sorry for your loss.” Oh, Todd. You always know what to say. Jack strong-arms Walt into a hand shake, signifying their squareness, while Walt’s eyes stay locked on the car that used to contain our beautiful, sweet Jesse. As Jack walks away Walt growls, “Pinkman.” He still owes him Pinkman, and Walt knows where he is:

I have to admit that when Jesse was shown hiding under the car, I laughed. It was comedically helpless and childlike. Which makes the moment when Jesse, onto whom Walt has clearly shifted much of the blame for Hank’s death, gets dragged out from underneath and is made to kneel with a gun to his head all the more gut-wrenching. Throughout the scene I, the person I watched the episode with, plus I’m sure you, said out loud, “no no no no no no no no no no no” until Todd so casually stops Jesse’s murder. He was out here with the Feds, he says, and “had to have told ‘em some stuff that might not be too good for us” — a much dumber version of Jesse’s smart faux-dumbness. Todd says he’ll get him to talk, and then kill him afterwards. Oh, good.

As Jesse is dragged away, Walt tells them to wait. Surely he must have come to his senses, yeah? And he’s going to let Jesse live? Because he doesn’t want any more death on his hands, especially not Jesse’s, whom he’s grown so close to and now forgives for his betrayal because he, realizing that he himself has gotten out of control, understands what Jesse was trying to prevent?

No. He tells Jesse that he was there when Jane died. “I was there and I watched her die,” he says. “I could have saved her, but I didn’t.” What! A! Mother! Fucking! Asshole! Are?! You?! FUCKING?! SERIOUS?!?! Thank god this is just a TV show full of fictional characters or I would’ve swelled with so much genuine anger over this television moment, ha-ha!

So. Walt takes one last look at the grave he literally and figuratively dug for his brother-in-law, and drives away with his lonely barrel. His car breaks down. He rolls the barrel to a man. He gives the man one bunch of money for the man’s car. Ugh. I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF HIM I DON’T EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Next we’re at the car wash. Oh, brother. Marie has shown up to tell Skyler that Hank has captured Walt and has him “dead to rights.” Ohhhh brother. She tells her that she will support her through this on a few conditions, including that she has to give her every copy of Walt’s “confession” DVD, and that she tell Flynn the truth before he has to hear it from the police. Ohhhhhhh brother.

Before they speak with Flynn, we check in with Jesse. Half of his face is beaten and bloodied when Todd takes him from his cage. For a few moments we don’t know whether or not we’re just waiting to watch him die.

BUT WE AREN’T, THANK GOD. Jesus christ, this episode. What we do see is not much better, but a scene without murder still provides some relief. Jesse is chained to a dog-run thing (WE GET IT HE IS LIKE A DOG) (AHHHHHHH!!!!!) and made to cook meth for Todd. On the wall, he sees a picture of Andrea and Brock exiting their home. Ugh. This episode.

Then we’re back with Skyler, Flynn, and Marie. Flynn does not take well the news that his dad is a meth kingpin and that his mom has known about it for quite some time. Marie tells him to try to breathe. He does not take that well, either. He tries to call Hank. Eek. Skyler sobs. It all completely fucking devastating.

Walt frantically packs at home (Holly’s little baby dresses are very cute) while Skyler, Walt Jr., and Holly drive, unbeknownst to them, to meet him there. Once they arrive he tells them to pack anything that’s important to them, and that they have to leave right now. Walt Jr. asks him about being arrested and Skyler asks what happened to Hank. It dawns on her, like Mike’s death did with Jesse, that he had to have killed him in order to have gotten away. She tells him to get out, grabs a knife, and, ugh, we all watched it and know what happens, ending with Walt Jr. calling the police. I sincerely thought that he was going to accidentally either kill Walt Jr. or Skyler here, AND I AM SO GLAD THAT HE DID NOT. What he does do is: he leaves his family — the people for whom, in his mind, he had been doing this all along — cowering in fear of him.

Then he grabs Holly and leaves. AHH! Anna Gunn gives an incredible performance, running after him and collapsing to her knees, her arms bloodied, when his car speeds out of sight. It’s all so fucking good and heartbreaking. I don’t know what to tell you.

Walt changes Holly’s diaper and calls Skyler, who is waiting with Marie and the police. He asks if the police are there, certainly knowing that the answer is yes, and when Skyler says that they are not he fights back tears while saving her from being thought to have had any involvement in his crimes:

“What the hell is wrong with you? Why can’t you do one thing I say? This is your fault. This is what comes of your disrespect. I told you, Skyler. I warned you for a solid year — you crossed me and there will be consequences. What part of that didn’t you understand?”

“Maybe now you’ll listen. Maybe now you’ll use your damn head. You know, you never believed in me. You were never grateful for anything I did for this family. Oh no, Walt, Walt! You have to stop! You have to stop this, it’s immoral! It’s illegal! Someone might get hurt! You’re always whining and complaining about how I make my money, just dragging me down while I do everything. And now. Now you tell my son what I do? After I’ve told you and told you to keep your damn mouth shut? You stupid bitch. How dare you.”

“You have no right to discuss anything about what I do. What the hell do you know about it anyway? Nothing! I built it, it’s me, me alone! Nobody else!”

“You mark my words, Skyler. Toe the line or you will wind up just like Hank.”

“You’re never going to see Hank again. He crossed me. You think about that, family or no. You let that sink in.”

I have a feeling that other people are going to have slightly different readings of this phone call, but the way I see is that this is Walt — not Heisenberg, in any part — acting to save his family (and himself) in the only way he can: by distancing them from his crimes and disappearing. He did not kill Hank. Skyler did help build his empire. These are lies. He is painting a very specific picture of an off-the-rails bad guy and his helpless, abused family for the people who he knows are listening in. (Not that it isn’t an accurate picture.) I think that is all there is to this. (“What the hell do you know about it anyway? Nothing! I built it, it’s me, me alone! Nobody else!”) (“Ahhh, okay, I think they get it Walt! Hah. Just you! Nobody else, definitely not me! Sooo. Where’s Holly?”)

He breaks his phone in two, leaves Holly (who is a wonderful baby actress) at a fire station, and leaves with Saul’s disappearing guy.